News Oct 7, 2010 at 4:00 am

Neighbors Gripe about Portland Raceway Noise


Screw the racetrack noise. If Kentonites want to pick a battle it should be over the constant train horns blaring 24 hours a day. The horns are much more invasive and disrupting than PIR.
@ Denis, there's two implicit arguments underneath this piece that I've got issues with: 1) People who are new to a neighborhood are somehow not "full" residents with standing to complain about things. 2) If you move into a neighborhood and know, or should know, of an existing possible annoyance, you shouldn't be heard to complain about it later.

As for 1: Every Christmas, I have an exchange with my redneck cousin that goes kind of like this:

Him: "Our country is a Christian country. We founded this country. We were here before them. They need to do whatever we think they should do."

Me: "Our country is whoever is here at the given time, and we all have an equal voice as citizens in shaping what our country is going to be, that's why our country rules (on paper)."

As for 2: Just don't agree, along the lines of 1. No one is forced to make a promise when they move somewhere that they will never, ever try to change anything, and it's silly to pretend that when people move to a neighborhood, they must be 100% OK with all aspects of it forever forward.
Not to worry, in a few years the race cars will be electric. ZIP ZIP ZIP instead of ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM. Then all the concerned parents will complain the electric cars cause cancer.

And yes, I did play the race car.

It wasn't my aim to imply that new residents have no right to complain. They do. People should want to change their neighborhoods for the better. I just don't think anyone who bought a home should be terribly surprised by the noise from the racetrack, unless their real estate agent misled them.

The dynamics of this dispute really caught my attention. Discontent over the track has become something of a side effect of Kenton's recent residential explosion—something that's clearly a city priority—and I'll be curious to see how or if City Hall responds.
Fuck these idiot assholes and their gentrified neighborhood. They bought a house next to race-track so, NO, they don't have a right to complain about the noise from said race track. I bought a house under a PDX flight path and the airplane noise is really irritating, but I keep my fucking mouth shut because it was my CHOICE to buy there. Reminds me of those ass-hole neighbors of mine in college. They bought a house next to a fraternity and then had the fucking GALL to complain about the shenanigans that the frat-boys got into. Grow up and accept the consequences for the choices YOU made.
I moved across the street from a school yard, I should be able to complain and petition for all the kids to be quiet when they are outside playing, right?
Next door to the shop I work at, we have had condo's go up in the last few years and the residents now complain about the noise from delivery trucks that come and go after 6pm. Dumbfucks.
Whether someone has the right to complain should never be at issue.Everyone has the right to bitch [as many have shown] and everyone has the right to tolerate.It's an angry world these day's and there are so many special folks out there who use bitching on a daily basis to achieve attention.Piss and moan or tolerate.But EVERYONE has that right.
The actual FACT is that PIR already has very strict noise regulation.
For 357 days out of the year there is a enforced sound limit so that the closest house will not hear anything louder than 65db from PIR.

50-65db is as loud as a normal conversation.
70db is as loud as a dishwasher.
80db is as loud as normal city traffic noise.

The FACT is that as measured from the closest house PIR is already quieter than normal city traffic, and your dishwasher, and is no louder than any random person talking in their backyard.

I would also make the ARGUMENT that if you absolutely can't stand the the sound of race cars then you should NOT buy a house directly next to a preexisting race track then expect the world to revolve and you.
If Kenton neighborhood home owners want to pick a battle it should be about the pedophile that lives in the neighborhood.
A little historical context is in order here;
Some folks have been bitching about the noise at PIR for years now, long before Kenton's latest population explosion. This complaint is nothing new. But, yes, the current gentri-wave in that part of town does seem to be a more uptight set than the usual crowd.
I rather enjoy the sound of high powered cars frittering away the last of a natural resource! it's great fun! But then again, I live in Kenton and I frequent the track to race and watch racing. Also, seriously, the trains are FUCKING RIDICULOUS!? I get it, I moved here and those train tracks were here(as well as the track) before I got here. That's why you don't see me complaining about either. Let's see if I got this right, the neighborhood association is whining about the track, but not the trains!? why? OOOOH, yeah because the race track is the only thing they know they can influence and bully.....the train tracks and the regulations that govern how loud and how often the horns get blown are federal laws. They don't stand a chance of changing them. For the record the train horns are at least 3-4x as loud, and 10x as annoying(because they are most noticeable at 3am)as the track, IMO.

So what this (non)issue really boils down to is a bunch of pretentious blowhards wanting to take their faux-outrage and fuck with a business and the people that enjoy what that business does. Seems more like a group of dipshits that need to find a hobby instead of being obstructionist cranks......may I suggest drag racing?
In response to the comment above about PIR already having strict noise regulations, Kenton residents are simply asking for compliance with existing regulations. PIR is not operating in compliance with today's regulations. Portland's Bureau of Development Services contracted with an acoustical consulting firm to conduct a two-year study of community noise in the North Portland area. The entire study is available on their website. The study found that sound levels from PIR race activity were over code limits for both drag and open wheel formula one style cars in sections of Kenton. The nighttime trackside limit is 90 dBA. Consider that a varianced race can be a 115 dB. The EPA has identified the level of 70 dB(A) for 24 hour exposure as the level necessary to protect the public from hearing loss and other disruptive effects from noise, such as sleep disturbance, stress-related problems, learning detriment, etc. Louder sounds cause damage in a shorter period of time. Kenton residents are asking for healthy levels of sound from PIR.
Agreed on a noise variance day the noise level at the track can be as loud as 115 dba on one weekend a year from 9am to 5pm. Two weekends a year it can be as loud as 112dba and one weekend a year it can be 110 dba as measured at the track every other day is limited to less than 90dba again 9-5. The closest house is a fair distance away from the track and noise is attenuated over distance. On the loudest day (115db) this gives a measured sound reading of 75db in the yard of the closest house. Average daytime measurement of Columbia Blvd is 70db. Worst case is one weekend a year is PIR is 5dba louder than a average city street. 3dba is the smallest change in volume that a person can distinguish so again worst case PIR is slightly louder than a city street. Normal operations at PIR are 65dba or less measured at your house. Nighttime operations are 50dba or less as measured as from your house. CDC says you can start to have hearing problems after 8 continuous hours of 85dba. So the GOOD news is that according to actual studies that used science and math and actual collected data that even on the loudest 115 dba days you will never ever have any hearing damage from PIR while sitting in your Kenton yard, them be the facts.

The sound levels at the track are constantly monitored on event days, for most days if your car is above 90dba you will get kicked from the race, and you may get a ticket too.

65dba for a neighborhood is not unreasonable except for people looking to complain about something, and those people will find something to complain about no matter what facts are.
Agreed that the highest noise variance allowed is 115 dBA, however you are missing a major point. Variance dBA levels, or any dBA level for that matter, are not measured “per event” during races at PIR. The noise level is only measured per car dBA and not the conglomerate noise. So assuming that there is only one car racing at one time reaching the 115 dBA, you’re correct. However, if there are multiple cars on the track at the same time reaching the 115 dBA the combined noise pollution is not being measured. Multiple cars on the track at one time racing at 115 dBA, which is highly likely, would have a conglomerate noise level far exceeding the allotted 115 dBA trackside allowance, leading to a much higher decibel than 75 dBA reaching the closest house, which by the way is only 2,500 feet from the track.
PIR is the ONLY industrial land use facility that measures noise this way. All other industrial land use properties in the city must measure the noise as a whole.
Even on a non-varianced event weekend, the sound from the track is audibly and obviously in excess of the sound from Columbia Blvd. Sure, I occasionally hear cars on Columbia, but I can always hear the cars at PIR. Maybe the dba measurements you’ve listed are accurate, but the actual impact of constant noise pollution from PIR versus occasional noise from Columbia Blvd is very different.
This issue is not about complaining for complaining sake. It’s about a discussion. This is an issue many North Portland residents are concerned about and we should be able to talk about it.

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